Pinterest’s New Cinematic Pins a Marker For Advertisers

Want to get someone’s attention Maybe try putting a pin in it — electronically, that is.

The Wall Street Journal reports that popular social site Pinterest has introduced a new ad program that allows users to scroll through a series of images that are put together via cinematic pins. The ads play short animations when a user checks out images on the page, allowing the user to view a longer version of said ad when it’s clicked on.

This is a change of pace from the usual video ads users see on Twitter and Facebook, aiming more towards specific groups, which advertisers can target with its own set of pins. For instance, a Walgreens’ ad that focuses on lip-gloss shows sunglasses blowing kisses as the user scrolls through pictures. Clicking on the image opens up even more kisses as a reward, along with an ad for the lip-gloss.

The program will provide a number of improved targeting options, along with a revised fee model and an ad-creating service for clients that are looking for a more experimental way to reach out to consumers. With it, Pinterest hopes to find a change of pace from the usual video ads on other social sites.

With the program, brands can seek out specific audiences, like Millennials and “foodies” with said images, as well as other groups. With 72.8 million unique visitors tracked on the site back in March, it’s clear there are a lot of people who could easily catch on.

“Pinterest is such a visual medium by definition that it makes sense to me that that was the direction they would go in,” said Chris Curtin, chief brand and innovation marketing officer for Visa. “The dynamic motion that changes with the scroll is something else that’s very compelling.” Visa is one of the partners on board for the beta program for cinematic pins, alongside Virgin America and Crazy8. Other companies are expected to be on board for the general launch as well.

Still, some are showing skepticism, like Wendy’s. “We’re frankly still trying to figure out Pinterest,” said Brandon Rhoten, vice president of digital experience at Wendy’s. “We’re not a considered purchase. You don’t create a giant board of cheeseburgers that you’re going to go eat in the next week, or salads.” Regardless, the popular restaurant chain is currently using the site as a story-telling platform with some of its items, like the Strawberry Fields Chicken Salad.

More information on the new cinematic pins can be found in the video below.

Mashable And Above Average Launch Variety Web Show

by Jessica Klein

Mashable and Above Average have teamed up to launch a weekly variety web show.

Called The Tripp & Tyler Show: Finding the Humor in IRL, the series stars YouTubers Tripp Crosby and Tyler Stanton as they banter their way through tips, hacks, and facts.

Specifically, the series will cover seven, different segments. They include “Life Hacks,” “Etiquette Rules for Life,” “Facts You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know,” “Guest Interviews,” “Show & Tell,” “Comment of the Week,” and “Justify Stuff,” all of which are pretty self-explanatory.

The first episode of The Tripp & Tyler Show debuted today. Future episodes will come out every Tuesday across Mashable and Above Average’s websitesin addition to Tripp & Tyler’s YouTube channel, which has over 163,000 subscribers. Related clips will also appear on

The Tripp & Tyler Show is produced by Above Average. You can watch the first episode here.

This article was originally posted on VideoInk and is reposted on [a]listdaily via a partnership with the news publication, which is the online video industry’s go-to source for breaking news, features, and industry analysis. Follow VideoInk on Twitter @VideoInkNews, or subscribe via for the latest news and stories, delivered right to your inbox.

Azubu: Evolving eSports Streams

The massive growth of eSports and streaming video continues, as fans can’t seem to get enough of watching their favorite players gaming. While Twitch has garnered headlines (and a buyout by Amazon) with its rapid rise to 100 million views per month, that’s not the only streaming service around. Competing with the Twitch juggernaut requires a different approach, and that’s where Azubu is looking to make its mark by bringing a professional approach to streaming eSports.

“Azubu is a global broadcast network, delivering premium live and on demand eSports action, programming, news and analysis,” according to the web site, focusing on providing in-depth analysis and a solid technical foundation to provide the best streams possible. Azubu’s CEO Ian Sharpe sat down with [a]listdaily to discuss what’s happening at Azubu and in the world of eSports and streaming video.

Ian Sharpe

What’s new at Azubu and what’s coming up?

In the last year Azubu 2.0 has launched, we’ve signed teams like KeSPA, and have continued to sign teams. Azubu 2.0 really represented us standing something up and proving to the community that there was a way to have an alternative to Twitch — a global platform. The underlying technology meant that we could be global, we could work all around the world. That’s what was good about 2.0, but it didn’t really look the part and we’ve had a lot of people in the community say that. So we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the design and the approach. We’ve sat down and listened to the community, and we’re on the eve of launching something to the market that we started showing at GDC. We’ve shown it to some teams, we’ve shown it to Riot, to some other publishers, and we’ve started to get a massive response. The buzz is out there. We’re creating something that is much more dedicated to a good user experience, to a great design, to being broadcasters first, to enabling discovery for new teams and to learn from some of the great sites out there.

How is the audience of eSports changing Is it just growth, or is the demographic changing, or the desires within the demographic?

It’s an interesting thing. I think it’s like a river in that there are swells and there are eddies and there are countercurrents. Just look at CounterStrike:Global Offensive, it’s something that’s just had a resurgence; it’s like a swirl or an eddy. Then there’s what seems to be the oversaturation of the MOBA — Infinite Crisis, a MOBA too far. You’ve got Super Evil Evil Megacorps’s Vainglory and others coming out, testing the space and testing how people are interacting with it. Ultimately the river is growing and it’s moving towards the sea, and that’s a great thing. But on the way there are little forks, little rivulets like Vainglory that are seeing whether one day they may transform into a stream and become another river. There are things like League of Legends that just go from strength to strength, year after year. Ultimately what I see is experiment and evolution, and people trying stuff.

What kind of viewership are you seeing on mobile, and how is that changing?

We sat down at Christmastime and realized we had developed an app, and we’d thrown something up there, and it worked — but we weren’t making mobile a first-class citizen. So in January we came to that and created a dedicated mobile team. What we’re seeing is significant mobile usage, especially in South Korea. An eSports veteran that works with us said to me, “You’ve got to understand. Kids in Korea, there’s one TV and it’s a small apartment and they live at home. Mom and Dad are watching Korean soap operas, kids are going and watching the abundant eSports content in their rooms. That’s why you’re seeing a lot of pickup.” We are seeing significant mobile usage, to the point where, in certain territories, one in five of our streams is just watched on mobile.

How is Azubu working with the audience, and trying to create a better experience?

We’ve invested in a business intelligence team, there’s a whole bunch of people doing a forensic deep dive and looking at the stats, understanding the anatomy of the audience. One of the other things that goes along with this is customer service. We want to make sure that, if you’re watching content on Azubu, you don’t howl into the void. We going to put a customer service team in place that will support and help and nurture. That will then feed into our metrics, that will feed into whether people feel it’s a warm and friendly experience or something you will fight your way through. I think we’re past the phase of early adopter technology and we’re now into the phase that we help consumers get onboard, and that’s what we’re trying to do as well.

You’ve got changes to the Azubu product underway, but what about your marketing? How are you getting the message out about Azubu and how it’s changing?

I’ll give you a philosophy and I’ll give you a practicality. Philosophically, you made a distinction between product and marketing, but they have to be linked. You can say whatever you want in a marketing campaign, but unless you’ve got the product to back it up… you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. It has got to start with the product. It has to be a position of strength you can then have a marketing campaign around, otherwise people are just going to say it’s terrible. A good product gives us the basis for a good marketing campaign. Then there’s a whole bunch of stuff our good friends at Ayzenberg are going to put into place. We’re going to transform the Azubu brand, the name, the legacy.

We’re not rushing out a product just to prove to our investors and the community that Azubu is a thing, we’re creating the right thing we know the community wants. We’re taking our time about doing it. It’s really been almost a year since we’ve done any significant press. I say this internally a lot: You don’t turn on the taps when you have a leaky bathtub. You fix the bathtub, then turn on the taps, and that’s what we’re about to do.

What Games Could Mean For Facebook Messenger

Despite the fact that some see it as an unnecessary requirement, Facebook has fared very well with its Messenger app, with hundreds of millions of users utilizing the program to keep in touch with their friends through instant messaging. Now, the social site could take the app to the next level, with the introduction of games.

Reported by Variety, a new report from online magazine The Information indicates that people from Facebook are already talking to a handful of game developers about bringing their mobile games to the Messenger app, as part of a smooth integration that would allow users to play along with their friends. This comes on the heels of the company announcing support for third-party app integration back in March.

With a few companies on board, the app already allows users to share photos, animations and short video clips in their conversations. These have turned out to be popular features, so it’s obvious why Facebook wants to take it to the next level with games.

The messages with the game apps would appear in a user’s social feed, enabling them to either install it directly or share a message if they already have it in their library.

It’s unclear which developers are being spoken to, and which games would be a proper fit for the Messenger service, as Facebook hasn’t unveiled those plans just yet.

The company did state, however, that it’s currently focused on content creation apps, with intent to explore other opportunities in response to developer interest. Apps like Talking Tom, Giphy, Sound Clips and Bitmoji have already gained a huge following, with more than one million installs following the launch of the Messenger platform.

With 600 million active users, the Messenger app would be an ideal place for games, although, again, implementation would be a key factor, since some users prefer to simply chat instead of playing games outside of their normal mobile routines. It would generate a big amount of money for the social site, provided it was done the right way. In addition, it would allow the site to become competitive with Apple and Google’s respective app stores, providing a way to play said games without the need to install a side application for it.

We’ll see what comes over the next few months, as Facebook eventually reveals what plans it has in store for its Messenger app.

Advertisers <3 eSports, And Here's Why

Gamers are avid about eSports competitions, whether they’re aired on Twitch or on live television, like with Heroes of the Storm on ESPN 2 last month. However, along with attracting big audience members, it appears to be a hit on the advertising front as well.

GamesIndustry International reports that a new study by the EEDAR indicates that those who watch eSports spend more money on hardware and software than average gamers, mainly due to the involvement of quality gear from the likes of Razer, Origin PC and others.

With the significant growth in eSports participants and viewers year-over-year, the audience has seen impressive strength — which provides plenty of opportunity for peripheral makers to advertise their wares, as sponsors of said tournament or with advertising surrounding it. Devoted PC gamers are known to spend more on their gaming gear than regular gamers, since they require higher-performance goods from a variety of manufacturers to keep their habits at bay.

As you can see from the chart above, those who get more into eSports spend approximately $1,057 on gaming PC-related gear, compared to the $805 that an average gamer will spend. A majority of that money goes towards high-end equipment like keyboards, mice and headsets, and quality definitely makes a difference, especially with online rounds of games like Call of Duty and League of Legends.

Compared to average gamers, eSports fans spend more than twice as much on peripherals, and approximately 30 percent more on their system. Their overall spending reaches more than $100 for current peripherals, indicating that they’re fine with maximizing the performance of their rig.

The second chart shows that the market size of eSports viewers has managed to grow into a big chunk of the overall PC gaming population, and while it’s not yet at the halfway point of the overall count, it’s certainly getting there, taking up approximately 33 percent.

In addition to spending more money on their PC-related gear, eSports fans also spend more time across different gaming experiences, including various titles across platforms and genres alike, according to the above chart. PC games take a good chunk of their sending, approximately $50 more on PC games than most gamers, and $20 more on console games. Handheld and mobile games, however, are about steady across both groups.

The report also shows that major players in eSports, including game publishers, leagues and content distribution channels, have done a great job thus far keeping players involved with tournaments. Team-based tournament betting, in-game items created with team support in mind, merchandise and microtransactions to increase prize pools have also driven engagement to new heights as well. This, in turn, helps out tournament sponsors, building an audience that spends a great deal of money on these goods, as well as the hardware that makes them feel like they’re right there with the pros.

Look for this trend to roll on, as eSports continues to build popularity and eventually become a force to be reckoned with — maybe even compared to actual sports.

Streaming Video Predicted To Triple Viewership By 2019

Streaming video services are beginning to show a bigger impact on mass media, with millions of consumers flocking to Netflix, Hulu Plus and other channels to deliver their entertainment needs. For good measure, Twitch is also growing strongly, with its various game tournaments, devoted broadcaster channels and other services that are helping it see an increase in numbers as well.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise that a new study from Juniper Research, as reported by TechCrunch, indicates that subscriber numbers for these services, including Netflix and Amazon Prime, could rise from 92.1 million for this past year to 333.2 million global subscriptions by 2019 – an impressive growth for a five year span.

Devices like Amazon’s Fire TV Stick, Roku and Chromecast make it easy for users to connect to streaming services, as do game consoles and set-top boxes that provide access to streaming video with just the push of a button. Users can gain access to on-demand content, live streams and other special events with ease, instead of having to go through a pre-set channel lineup through a cable box.

While smart TV’s are also delivering streaming video, the firm believes that they don’t contribute as much as expected. These are based upon “poor operating systems and user interfaces,” according to the report.

Meanwhile, set-top boxes and other devices like the ones described above enable viewing on all television sets – even older models – with a great deal of convenience. This makes even older, obsolete televisions (rendered as “dumb” in the report) into modern-day connected devices.

As a result, some cable companies, in the hopes of preventing consumers from “cutting the cord” as it were, are offering packages, such as Verizon’s new a la carte programming package where consumers can pick and choose their bundles – although that’s leaving a few particular cable channels steamed over the matter.

Regarding the growth of on-demand entertainment, Juniper states that the United States will easily lead the way, followed closely behind by the Far East, which has its own set of programming that’s garnering a bigger audience. Netflix recently noted interest in expanding its service to China, through partners like Was Media Holding. (However, at this time, a deal hasn’t been confirmed yet.)

Even though some services don’t use ads, like Netflix and Amazon Prime, there are those, like Hulu and Twitch, that do, and according to the report, ad spend on video-on-demand will increase by almost four times by 2019, with the Far East and China showing the most gain according to the forecast.

‘Mortal Kombat’ Cracks Top 20 Game Franchises On YouTube

The numbers from YouTube don’t lie — when it comes to gameplay videos, WB Games’ Mortal Kombat X is a hit.

The latest entry in the bloody (and popular) fighting game series managed to handily crack the top 20 game franchises on YouTube, according to numbers reported by Octoly and Newzoo. Although it wasn’t successful enough to knock mainstay MineCraft out of the number one slot, it still fared very well since its mid-month debut, jumping nine places for the month with an overall growth rate in views by 170 percent.

The chart, posted below, highlights the 20 most popular games for the month. Gaming videos made by fans comprised 98.2 percent of overall views in the top 20, with some drawing into the billions of views for the month.

Leading the pack is Microsoft’s MineCraft, which continues to dominate with nearly four billion views and a 34 percent overall take of the top 20. However, close behind in second place is Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto series, which saw a boost in popularity with its video editor tool, introduced in the PC version of Grand Theft Auto V. It maintained a steady count of 1.3 billion videos, or approximately 12 percent of overall views for the month.

Other games, like Five Nights At Freddy’s, Call of Duty and League of Legends rounded out the top five, with League taking a two-notch rise over the previous month. However, the real surprise here is Mortal Kombat, which gained 332 million views for the month, or three percent overall. With the release of X, the game franchise jumped nine places from the previous month, with 97.5 percent of fan videos overall.

In addition, franchises like Game of War, Assassin’s Creed and Pokémon debuted in the top 20 for April, while familiar favorites like Battlefield, Team Fortress and World of Tanks dropped a few notches — even though all the franchises have well over 100 million views with their fan videos, indicating that they aren’t dying down in popularity anytime soon.

It just goes to show that there’s always room for “new” blood to enter the picture in the top 20 — and this week’s forthcoming release of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt could catapult that franchise into May 2015’s list easily, considering its pre-release hype.

The full top 20 is below.


STUDY: Good YouTube Reviews Drive Purchases For 89% Of UK Consumers

by Jessica Klein

People have long been warned not to believe everything they see on the internet, but that’s not stopping people in the UK from trusting reviews on YouTube above all over media.

According to the BuzzMyVideos Online Video Barometer, a survey conducted independently by OnePoll, almost half of UK respondents between the ages of 16 and 45 put their faith in YouTubers, while the second largest portion, 23 percent, believe most in what magazines have to say. TV got just 14 percent of the consumer vote of confidence, while radio got a mere 2 percent.

Like in the US, people in the UK turn to YouTube for lots of “how-to” advice. BuzzMyVideos found that 52 percent of the people they surveyed use digital video to figure out how to complete a task. The assumption is that YouTube will not lead them astray.


This article was originally posted on VideoInk and is reposted on [a]listdaily via a partnership with the news publication, which is the online video industry’s go-to source for breaking news, features, and industry analysis. Follow VideoInk on Twitter @VideoInkNews, or subscribe via for the latest news and stories, delivered right to your inbox.

StyleHaul’s Leaders To Talk Content Strategy At [a]list Video summit

We are delighted to announce that StyleHaul CEO and president Stephanie Horbaczewski and Chief Content Officer Mia Goldwyn has been confirmed to join the all-star speaker lineup at the 2015 [a]list summit, taking place at W Hollywood Hotel on Aug. 19. The chat will be moderated by actress, television host and online influencer Shira Lazar of What’s Trending.

StyleHaul CEO and president Stephanie Horbaczewski and Chief Content Officer Mia GoldwynStyleHaul CEO and President Stephanie Horbaczewski and Chief Content Officer Mia Goldwyn

Horbaczewski and Goldwyn, who recently joined StyleHaul from Paramount Pictures, will take part in a fireside chat discussing the latest trends in branded content development and StyleHaul’s offerings in the space which now exceeds 5,200 channels, over 224 million network subscribers and 19+ billion views.

Specifically, Stephanie and Mia will discuss StyleHaul’s original content strategy, including recent projects Fresh Dressed and VANITY, and other upcoming initiatives, including more content planned as a result of StyleHaul’s partnership with FremantleMedia and the company’s newest proprietary scalable influencer development platform, StyleHaul Society.

Sign up now for this exclusive event, which sold out last year. Many more top speakers to be reveled over the next few weeks.

NPD: April 2015 US Retail Sales Up

The latest figures are in for US retail video game sales, and in a surprising result April 2015 (at $595.7 million) actually improved on April 2014 (at $579.5 million), albeit by only 3 percent overall. “Overall sales across hardware, new physical software, and accessories in April 2015 grew by 3 percent over April 2014 due to the strength of new physical software sales, which offset losses from hardware and accessories,” said NPD’s Liam Callahan.

Hardware was not having a particularly good month, particularly in last-generation consoles. ” April 2015 hardware sales decreased by 4 percent due to the 55 percent decline in sales of seventh-generation console hardware. Eighth-generation console hardware sales were stable, and portable hardware increased by 36 percent,” said Callahan. “On a unit basis, hardware sales grew by 12 percent. Declines in hardware dollar sales were due to a decrease in average price of 4 percent, due to a drop in console hardware pricing.”

The change in pricing is helping Microsoft’s Xbox One, which led in sales for April in the US retail stores. “As the best-selling console in the U.S. in April, fans set record April sales and engagement for Xbox One last month. Xbox One console sales in the U.S. increased 63 percent in April 2015 compared to April 2014 and Xbox Live comparisons showed the number of active global users (Xbox One and Xbox 360) grew 24 percent. We are grateful to our fans for their passion and support and are looking forward to sharing more on the best game lineup in Xbox history at E3,” said Mike Nichols, Corporate Vice President, Xbox Marketing, Microsoft.

For its part, Sony reminded everyone that PS4 of course still has the cumulative sales lead. “We would like to thank fans around the world for their continued support of the PS4. According to NPD, PlayStation continues to lead software sales for April 2015 and PS4 remains the cumulative sales leader in the US. We are looking forward to an amazing E3,” an SCEA representative noted.

There was no comment from Nintendo, but it’s a good bet that the increased portable hardware sales are due to the New 3DS XL hardware.

Meanwhile, software had an excellent month. “For new physical console software, eighth-generation consoles sales grew by 200 percent in revenue, which offset declines from seventh-generation consoles of 62 percent, and portable declines of 32 percent,” Callahan said. “Overall, console software increased by 20 percent, leading to overall video game software growth of 13 percent.” The leading title for the month was Mortal Kombat X, followed by the release of Grand Theft Auto V (the PC version no doubt drove a lot of those sales).

April 2015 Top 10 Games (USA new physical retail only)

1. Mortal Kombat X (PS4, XBO)** Warner Bros. Interactive
2. Grand Theft Auto V (PS4, XBO, PC, 360, PS3)** Take 2 Interactive
3. Battlefield Hardline (XBO, PS4, 360, PS3, PC)** Electronic Arts
4. MLB 15: The Show (PS4, PS3)** Sony
5. Minecraft (360, PS3, XBO, PS4) Microsoft / Sony
6. NBA 2K15 (XBO, PS4, 360, PS3, PC) Take 2 Interactive
7. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (XBO, PS4, 360, PS3, PC)** Activision Blizzard
8. Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin (PS4, XBO, 360, PS3) Bandai Namco Games
9. Super Smash Bros. (3DS, NWU)** Nintendo
10. Borderlands: The Handsome Collection (PS4, XBO)** Take 2 Interactive
**(includes CE, GOTY editions, bundles, etc. but not those bundled with hardware)